MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- Food service specialist Marines with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron displayed their culinary skills during the Chef of the Quarter competition at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, Sept. 24, 2015.
The rich smell of delicately cooked foods filled the R.G. Robinson Mess Hall as Marines prepared meals of their choice to present during the competition.
The Chef of the Quarter competition that allow Marines to show off the culinary arts skills associated with their military occupational specialty.
The event began with a written test about the entirety of the food service MOS and the top three contenders moved on to the rest of the event.
“You have to make at least six products including an appetizer, meat, starch, vegetable, soup and a dessert,” said Cpl. Veronica Shoemake, a food service specialist with H&HS and the first place winner of the competition. “When your time is up, your product then gets judged by four Marines.”
Shoemake’s menu consisted of: a creamcicle drink, bruschetta, chicken marsala, gnocchi pasta, asparaguses with almonds and garlic, Italian wedding soup and cannoli.
Pfc. Mariah Soto, a food service specialist with H&HS and the second place winner of the competition, said she felt she did well competing for her first time and that it this is a great way for food service Marines to show what they can bring to the table.
“I was working side-by-side (Shoemake) most of the time. She really put in a lot of effort into her work,” said Soto. “I wanted to win of course, but she won, and she deserved it.”
Both participants agreed that the competition was stressful at times as they spent hours preparing and cooking their dishes as well as ensuring their uniform is in top shape for the uniform inspection.
“You shouldn’t stress out too much, everyone is going to make mistakes,” said Shoemake. “We all tried our best. At the end of the day, the decision comes down to what the judges liked.”
Shoemake’s package, including information on everything she did during the third quarter, will be submitted to Marine Corps Installations Pacific as she continues on to compete against other first place winners in the Pacific.